Ronald Reagan’s college alma mater now features a purely Spanish-language version of its website for non-English-speaking families.
The school, Eureka College in Eureka, Illinois, rolled out the foreign language version of its admissions section and much of its broader website last week.
“Bienvenidos a Eureka,” the alternate website, Eureka en español, greets visitors.
“Nos da mucho placer introducir Eureka en español, un centro de información sobre Eureka College presentado en la segunda lengua más hablada del mundo. Aquí, nuestros estudiantes hispanohablantes—graduados, actuales y futuros—y sus familiares encontrarán todo lo que necesitan para mantenerse en contacto con nosotros, enriquecer su experiencia educativa o formar parte de la familia Eureka. ¡Bienvenidos a todos!”
Translation: “It gives us great pleasure to introduce Eureka in Spanish, an information center on Eureka College presented in the second most-spoken language in the world. Here, our Spanish-speaking graduates — present and future — and their families can find everything they need to stay in touch with us, enrich their educational experience or part of the Eureka family. Welcome everybody!”
The tiny, 785-student college explained in a school press release that the purpose of the Spanish version of the school website is to reach out to Spanish-speaking families in central Illinois as well as in Chicago (about two hours away).
“Regardless of what language you speak, navigating the college application is overwhelming,” Eureka Spanish professor Emily Eaton told The Pantagraph, a newspaper out of nearby Bloomington. “When you have the addition of a language barrier on top of that, you have that additional type of burden.”
“Colleges and universities are not doing enough outreach to populations whose first language is Spanish,” Eaton added.
“The project’s primary objective is to increase community awareness about the excellent opportunities available at four-year liberal arts colleges and Eureka’s top-tier programs in particular,” Eaton said in the school press release. “Our goal is to promote more effective communication with Spanish-speaking parents who are helping their high school aged children navigate the college selection, application and admission process.”
Illinois is home to the fifth-largest population of Hispanics in the United States, the press release notes. Also, the United States trails only Mexico among countries with Spanish speakers.
This fall, Eaton will travel around Illinois — particularly around Chicago — to hold bilingual informational sessions for students and their families.
Eaton will also provide campus tours in Spanish.
“In my mind, what Eureka College is doing is unique and special,” Jesse Paul Padilla of Conexiones Latinas de McLean County — “your place to find out what is happening in the Bloomington-Normal Latino Community” — told The Pantagraph.
Padilla also describes the Spanish version of Eureka’s website as “empowering the parents.”
Eureka has previously translated some of its website material into Mandarin as part of a recruitment drive in China.
Reagan, an Illinois native, attended Eureka College from 1928 to 1932. He majored in economics.
The Eureka campus is home to the Ronald W. Reagan Society.